Entries from July 2011

Silence? What Silence?

July 31st, 2011 at 7:00 am 17 Comments

Michael Walzer, co-editor of Dissent magazine, has just written about a trip to the West Bank town of Hebron. He went with a group that calls itself “Breaking the Silence.”

Breaking the silence? Really? As if the West Bank is not the world’s least silent issue?

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Canada’s Oil Sands: Secret Weapon Against Terrorism

July 30th, 2011 at 6:50 am 79 Comments

Despite the debt-ceiling stalemate, some bills are being passed. On Tuesday, July 26, the House approved a measure to speed up the approval process for a Canada-U.S. oil pipeline. FrumForum recently discussed the vote with two Canadian sources who have both been active in promoting the Canadian oil industry in the U.S, and their responses highlight the variety of approaches being used to do so.
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Is My Flirty Personal Trainer Just Doing Business?

July 29th, 2011 at 5:04 pm 22 Comments

I have a dilemma.

Recently, I moved to a great downtown neighborhood and joined a gym.  I’ve come to realize that – in a neighborhood filled with 20 to 30-somethings – the gym and the grocery store are arguably the best places to meet men (I grew weary of the bar scene rather quickly).  Though often intrigued by many strapping young gents, I have yet to be intrigued to the point of approaching one of them, and – clearly – no one has thought otherwise of me, as I too have yet to be approached.

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Hold Off on Pointless Baseball Trades

July 29th, 2011 at 5:04 pm 2 Comments

Alan Schwarz recently centered a wise and touching piece in the New York Times on his five year old son’s reaction to the Mets’ trade of pitcher, Francisco Rodriguez.  Traumatized by the sudden loss of his favorite player, whom the Mets claimed they could not afford, the poor boy offered the contents of his own piggybank — $29.03.

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The Prowl: Caught in the Crossfire of a Beer Fight

July 29th, 2011 at 5:03 pm 4 Comments

After a client dinner on Thursday night, my coworkers and I decided to stop for a drink together.  After a week in which all of our clients decided to lose their respective minds (I might actually dislike all of them), a mellowing agent was desperately needed.  Yes, needed.

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Boehner’s New Plan – Even Deader

July 29th, 2011 at 3:46 pm 75 Comments

A few thoughts on the implications of Boehner adding a “Balanced Budget Amendment” to his debt-ceiling bill (which would now require that Congress pass a BBA before a second debt-ceiling increase could take place early in 2012):

Adding the BBA makes the bill very likely to pass the House. This addition appeases Tea Partiers, who had denied Boehner the majority he needs to pass it.

The Boehner bill as it stood on Thursday night might not have been able to pass the Senate; the Boehner bill of today definitely can’t. The very thing that makes the bill likely to pass the House – its Tea Party pedigree – will kill it in the Senate.

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The Jerk Party

July 29th, 2011 at 3:26 pm 160 Comments

I’m not the first to make this comment, but the current debt limit debate shows what the Tea Party movement (which I once basically supported) really values: being a jerk. Speaker Boehner has a close-to-perfect voting record on conservative issues, is not terribly warm in person (heck, Newt comes across better) and has proposed a good, tough spending cut plan. But he has also demonstrated a modicum of willingness to work with the president and appears to want to bring the debt ceiling crisis to a close.

Eric Cantor—who may well become speaker before the end of the year—does not disagree with Boehner on any major issue including the debt plan but, unlike Boehner, Cantor is basically a jerk who is willing to work against his own Speaker, the President, the financial interests that have traditionally supported his party and, indeed, just about everyone else so long as it keeps him in the media. I’m disgusted.


Al-Qaeda’s Iranian Presence Should be a Greater Concern

July 29th, 2011 at 2:58 pm 6 Comments

Yesterday, the U.S. government formally announced what many of us have known for sometime: there is a direct connection between al-Qaeda and Iran.  The Treasury Department sanctioned “six members of a terrorist network based in Iran” for serving as “the core pipeline through which al-Qaeda moves money, facilitators and operatives from across the Middle East to South Asia,” principally meaning Pakistan and Afghanistan. The leader of the group, Ezedin Abdul Aziz Khalil, is a Syrian who has been operating from Iran under an agreement signed in 2005.”

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#Winning!

David Frum July 29th, 2011 at 2:38 pm 205 Comments

I listened to about 45 minutes of the first hour of Rush Limbaugh in the car today.

The dominant theme of the hour, repeated over and over: “You” – meaning, Limbaugh listeners – are not “losers.” It’s Obama’s who’s a “loser.”

The word “loser” must have been repeated dozens of times, half as reassurance (that’s what you are not!), half as epithet (that’s what President Obama is!)

The psychological interpretation of what’s going on here is almost too obvious to remark. But what I can’t decide is whether it’s more sinister or more sad.

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GOP Should Act Like a Majority Party on Debt Limit

July 29th, 2011 at 2:14 pm 7 Comments

Upon hearing reports that Jim DeMint played a role in the House’s failure to hold a vote last night on the Boehner Plan, I recalled an episode that occurred during the Reagan administration while the Republicans controlled the Senate.  I was interning with none other than Senator Christopher Dodd (even then they called me “the right-wing intern”).  Say what you want about Chris Dodd – his staff was bright and funny and made up almost entirely of pros.

At the time, Jesse Helms – then known as “Senator No” – was the most right-wing senator.  Senator Helms had such an old-school view on debt that he did not even have a credit card.

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